Troll 2 (1990)
Troll 2 lacks nothing – except a troll
Whether you are filming a $200 million epic, or simply Kim Kardashian getting it on, producing a motion picture is no small task. Sometimes you have to deal with temperamental actors (like a certain Caped Crusader). The project can go ridiculously over budget, such as the 1995 film Waterworld. Or maybe your star might get too busy trying to convert the other cast members and crew to the Church of Scientology instead of focusing on the task at hand.
The film I will be taking a look at this week, Troll 2, was plagued with many issues. Among them:
– Almost no one involved with the writing or production of the film spoke English – which isn’t always a problem, except for when you are making an English-language film.
– Most of the cast had no previous acting experience. Those who showed up expecting to be extras (including a dentist and a mental hospital resident) were given large roles.
– Last, but not least, the film, despite being named Troll 2, contains exactly zero trolls.
All that said, Troll 2 still manages to be one of the finest films ever produced.
What can be said about Troll 2? Well, for starters, it is not a sequel. At first this had me confused, much like after I watched the disaster flick 2012 and tried to track down the previous 2,011 installments. The film was originally slated to be released as Goblins, which is appropriate, since it is about goblins. However, it’s all about the Benjamins in the end, as the powers that be decided to rename it Troll 2 in order to capitalize on the prestige of the 1986 film Troll.
Now I don’t want to start this review in a negative fashion, because I truly did enjoy this film. But I am not a fan of misleading titles. When I watch RoboCop, I know that I will see a cyborg that enforces the law. When I watch Hobo With A Shotgun, I rightfully anticipate witnessing a dishevelled man with some firearms. And this weekend when I gather my children in front of the TV to watch Magic Mike, I fully expect that we will be treated to the tale of a kindly magician who delights audiences by pulling rabbits out of hats and other such illusions.
So I’ve covered what Troll 2 isn’t, which is a film about trolls. So what is it? Well, it is a statement by director Claudio Fragasso and his wife, writer Rossella Drudi, against those who are vegetarians. Apparently several of the couple’s friends had decided to stop eating meat. I myself eat meat at every meal. In fact I am eating a rack of lamb while typing this. So I commend the duo’s efforts in creating what might be the only anti-vegetarian propaganda film ever produced.
In Troll 2, the Waits family decides to take a trip to the remote farm town of Nilbog. Lots can go wrong when you go on vacation, as the films of Chevy Chase have taught us. But the Waits family doesn’t simply lose their luggage or run into a language barrier. What they do run into is goblins. Not just any goblins, though; these are vegetarian goblins who turn people into plants before consuming them.
The Waits family’s battle with these evil goblins is a non-stop thrill ride. Think Rocky vs. Apollo, the Empire vs. the Rebel Alliance and Kramer vs. Kramer all wrapped up in one, and then throw in some goblins. I cannot do justice to the intricacies of the plot. I will whet your appetite though by telling you that one of the characters urinates on a vegetarian feast prepared by the goblins, and corn on the cob is used in an attempt to seduce another character. I can only imagine this led to a new genre of film called corn porn.
Troll 2 is a remarkable achievement. Despite overwhelming obstacles, the meat-loving filmmakers and cast composed of dentists and mental patients managed to produce a film that has stood the test of time. If I haven’t sold you on the film yet, let me just tell you that a bologna sandwich plays an important role in the film’s thrilling final act. Troll 2 is a film that will terrify you one moment, and have you laughing uncon-Troll-ably the next.